After another deadly accident on Highway 61, leaders from Lincoln and St. Charles County are demanding that the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) make safety improvements to a dangerous stretch of road.
A 36-year-old woman was traveling northbound Highway 61 when another vehicle slipped on ice and crashed into the back of her vehicle. Both cars spun out of control and crossed the median where they were struck by a SUV traveling southbound. The woman and her 6-year-old daughter were pronounced dead at the scene. Her 7-month old daughter was pronounced dead at the hospital. She leaves behind a 16-year-old daughter. Relatives recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who rear-ended the woman. The suit also alleges that MoDOT was negligent in failing to install a cable barrier along the stretch of U.S. 61 where the crash occurred.
The dangerous conditions of a roadway can include weather, poor design or maintenance, or the presence of objects or debris on the road. Although the driver may have been driving carelessly, failure to avoid foreseeable events from turning tragic is a form of negligence. Motorists have a right to expect that their government won’t allow dangerous roads to cause accidents. Unfortunately, defects in design or maintenance isn’t usually discovered until someone is seriously injured or killed, or until there is a lawsuit. Other times, dangerous conditions are known, but nothing is done to correct the problem.
Despite recommendations by local officials, MoDOT says they do not have the estimated $12 million in the budget to make changes to the highway. That response is not good enough for St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann and Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione, who have pledged to create a short-term solution until funding is available. They are not only requesting that MoDOT reduce the speed limit and add traffic lights at the intersection, but they also hope to crack down on speeding by increasing traffic patrols in the area. Lawsuit Financial congratulates Mr. Ehlmann and Mayor Guccione for not accepting “we have no money” for an answer, and for taking immediate steps to protect the citizens of Missouri. This is also a great time to remind all drivers to pay closer attention, avoid distraction, and slow down especially in inclement weather.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.